MORNING RUSH: news, sport, weather, traffic & online buzz

8.47am That's it from us this morning. Tune in tomorrow for Thursday's edition of the Rush. Ta-ta.

8.45am LOCAL NEWS: Motorcycling NSW lodged a development application on Tuesday to build a $12 million motorsport complex at Yerriyong, near Nowra.

8.44am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Justin Bieber has a new tattoo - must be Wednesday.

8.42am This is such a LOVELY story. A blind couple has fallen in love & married after their guide dogs brought them together. Awww.

8.40am NATIONAL NEWS: Almost four in five Australians think the nation has a problem with alcohol, and more than three quarters believe Australia's battle with the bottle will not get better over the next decade, according to new polling to be released today.

8.38am STRANGE BUT TRUE: It seems TV spoilers are a good way to settle a noisy class. A Belgian maths teacher threatened to reveal who died in the Season 3 final of Game of Thrones if his class didn't behave!

8.36am NATIONAL NEWS: The head of Tony Abbott’s indigenous advisory council Warren Mundine says he has urged the PM to drop controversial plans to amend the Racial Discrimination Act. But he says he won’t walk away from the advisory council in protest. (AAP)

8.34am MUSIC NEWS: A controversial British TV show claims to have found the real cause of Elvis Presley's early death. Apparently they analysed a hair sample & found he suffered from heart disease. Hmmmm....

8.32am A great story from reporter Alex Arnold this morning about Jamberoo Valley Farm offering a "farm experience" for guests. Love it!

8.30am I think this might have been a little stuff-up on this US news program...

8.28am This weekend is your last chance to get along to see the Tempest at the Botanic Gardens. Don't miss out!

8.26am BREAKING:  The Victorian budget will take a $100 million a year hit under a government plan to cut public transport costs across Melbourne.The changes include making trams free in the CBD and capping the maximum daily fares at the Zone 1 rate across the train, tram and bus network, News Corp Australia reports. (AAP)

8.24am This video of one guy singing "The Rainbow Connection" in all the Muppets voices has seriously made my life. Check it out below.

8.22am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Another man has been arrested for stalking singer Taylor Swift. This is the second time in three weeks she's had to keep an obsessed fan at bay.

8.20am Have you been snapped out & about in the Illawarra? Check out our social pics gallery - you never know who you might spot!

8.19am I love this picture - oh cats. Is there anything you cute, fluffy bundles can't do!?

8.17am TRAFFIC ALERT: We've heard reports of significant traffic delays at Lawrence Hargrave Drive in Austinmer & Thirroul. Anyone know more?

8.16am Scott McRae is set to hit the IPAC stage this weekend in a tale of Stevie Wright & the Easybeats. Sounds interesting. Read more here.

8.14am MUSIC NEWS: David Brockie, frontman for the satirical extra-terrestrial metal band Gwar, has been found dead at his Virginia home, United States police said. He was 50.

8.12am And in even freakier news - a scary clown has been wandering the streets of Staten Island in the US, creeping people out. WHAT THE!?

8.10am STRANGE BUT TRUE: WARNING - slightly rude post to come. There is a giant sculpture of a, um, vagina in Geelong in Victoria. It's part of a festival where children are encouraged to climb through the statue's legs into the, uh, opening. Oh dear.

8.08am As many of you know, I'm planning a wedding so I love stories about people doing CRAZY stuff at their big day. So, how about hiring a "social media concierge"? Yep, it's happening in the US - it's someone who will live tweet/Instagram/FB your wedding. Madness!

8.06am CELEB NEWS: The Associated Press is reporting that speed, not mechanical problems, caused the car accident that killed Paul Walker.

8.04am Keen to get active but worried you can't afford it? Well, URAC is offering some free programs this week - check them out!

8.02am WORLD NEWS: Venezuela has arrested three air force generals accused of plotting a coup, in league with opposition politicians during the country's rumbling civil unrest, the president said on Tuesday.

8am Have you seen this unbelievable video of a guy base jumping off the NYC Freedom Tower? Holy good night!

7.58am Today is Purple Day to increase awareness of epilepsy. (And hopefully improve my spelling of it as that took several attempts)

7.57am BREAKING: Tony Abbott has told Nine News that the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight is not "open-ended."

7.56am LOCAL SPORT: They've been through plenty of preseasons in their distinguished NRL careers, but for new Illawarra Coal League captain-coaches Jason Ryles and Nathan Fien the learning curve before the 2014 season has been steep.

7.54am It's time for today's edition of "anywhere but here". Today I'd love to be sipping wine in Luxembourg. See you there...

7.52am Good morning! Happy hump day if you're just tuning in. Hope you're having a wonderful morning. Here's the latest weather & transport deets to enjoy over your Weetbix...

WEATHER We're in for a cloudy day with a few scattered showers, some patchy fog & a top of 22 degrees. There is a chance of thunderstorms. Right now, it's 19 in Bellambi & Albion Park.

TRAFFIC There is still some flooding around - watch out in Albion Park Rail (Illawarra Hwy & Tongarra Rd) - the highway is closed in both directions. Otherwise, all is clear for the run around town & to Sydney.

TRAINS There is a good service on the South Coast line.

7.50am TV NEWS: How I Met Your Mother ends next week in the US - but will fans be happy with the ending?! Watch this space...

7.48am NATIONAL NEWS: Myer is considering ways to sweeten its $3 billion ''merger of equals" proposal for David Jones by taking on debt so it can offer cash as well as shares, The Australian Financial Review reports. NB Can't these two work it out - I want a superstore!

7.46am I love a good interesting fact. Especially facts that help my cause! So: the world's oldest person, Jeanne Louise Calment, attributed living to 122 to a diet of olive oil, port wine and one kilo of chocolate a week. YES!

7.44am STRANGE BUT TRUE: If you missed this yesterday, a pair of water buffaloes were spotted roaming down King St in Newtown. They were supposed to be filming an Korean Samsung commercial but got restless and went for a walk. Only in Newtown!

7.42am Another little hump day joke for you. This time, it's about bacon. Who doesn't love a bacon joke!?

7.40am LOCAL NEWS: A 32-year-old female surfer suffered fractures to three vertebrae after being dumped by a wave at Mystics Beach, Killalea State Park, on Tuesday.

7.38am Legally Blonde is coming! MoonGlow Productions is set to stage the musical for the first time in Wollongong on July 4-5 @ the WIN Entertainment Centre. Tickets available via Ticketek.

7.36am TRAFFIC UPDATE - Gerringong: no longer affected by flooding.

7.34am NATIONAL NEWS: Former Premier Kristina Keneally's office was warned it needed to "drive a stake through the heart" of a doctored cabinet minute supporting a proposal by the Obeid-linked company Australian Water Holdings, a corruption inquiry has heard.

7.32am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Rhianna is set to be named Fashion Icon of the Year. NB By who!? Some of her outfits are a little, um, odd.

7.30am Watermelon as children's clothing. Yep, it's been done. Not recommended, mind you, could get very sticky...

7.28am A little reminder - Bulli High School will be closed for Yr 7-10 but open for Yr 11-12 today. 

7.27am Have you entered the Merc’s footy tipping comp? It’s not too late to sign up - even if it’s purely for bragging rights.

7.26am NATIONAL NEWS: PM Tony Abbott is facing a storm of protest from religious and ethnic groups, human rights organisations and sections of his own backbench over sweeping changes to race-hate laws. NB the plan is to repeal section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which makes it unlawful for someone to act in a manner likely to ''offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate'' someone because of their race or ethnicity.

7.24am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Gwyneth Paltrow has posted a make-up free selfie (along with the rest of the world) and she looks pretty good.

7.22am Oh Buzzfeed, source of so many lost working hours. Proving people have WAY too much time on their hands, enjoy this gallery of celebrities with Voldermort's nose.

7.20am LOCAL SPORT: The kick-off time for the South Coast Wolves home clash with Sydney Olympic has been changed to accommodate fans planning to attend the Wollongong Hawks playoff fixture on Sunday.

7.19am Don't forget we're crossing to Pulse 94.1FM every hour with updates from the Rush.

7.18am Love this! Even cats have fat days and diet woes...

7.16am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Oh Naomi Campbell is mean! Check out her reaction to Kim & Kanye's Vogue cover - she looks like a cackling witch...

7.14am WORLD NEWS: Rescue workers searched through rubble on Tuesday with hopes dwindling of finding the 176 people still missing from a devastating weekend mudslide in Washington state in the US.

7.12am TV NEWS: A little trivia for The Simpsons fans - ever noticed Homer's hair & ear form an "M" and "G"? It's a reference to the show's creater Matt Groening. Cool, huh?!

7.10am MOVIE NEWS: So The Rock is Hercules. The latest adaptation of the hunky strongman is set to hit cinemas in July. Check out the trailer below.

7.08am LOCAL NEWS: West Dapto's long-awaited Fowlers Road bridge was hailed as the "F-word which can finally be said out loud" as councillors signed off on the contract to design the road this week.

7.06am MUSIC NEWS: P Diddy has changed his name again. Well kind of - he's gone back to Puff Daddy. Right, okay. NB A note to Snoop Dog/Lion - please consider a similar move.

7.04am BREAKING: Top officials of Malaysia Airlines said that all next-of-kin relatives had been paid $US5000 and that the company was considering additional compensation. Meantime, families have stormed the Malaysian Embassy in protest over the lack of information about the missing flight.

7.02am TV NEWS: We told you Mila Kunis would be joining fiancee & baby daddy Ashton Kutcher on his show Two & a Half Men. Well, we've got pics of her guest episode - enjoy!

7am Death by Chocolate beer dinner. It sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Beer & chocolate united! Well, Little Prince is doing it - tickets are selling fast for the April 15 dinner, get in quick!

6.58am LOCAL NEWS: Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery has lent his support to a campaign by NSW Government backbenchers to get the F6 extension from Heathcote to St Peters under way.

6.56am WORLD NEWS: This Danish zoo just doesn't learn - the zoo that faced protests for killing a healthy giraffe to prevent inbreeding says it has now put down four lions.

6.54am Awww, look at these happy little goats. I want one, I want one! Ooo, I sound like Veruca Salt from Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.

6.52am Good morning! Happy hump day if you're just tuning in. Hope you're having a wonderful morning. Here's the latest weather & transport deets to enjoy over your Weetbix...

WEATHER We're in for a cloudy day with a few scattered showers, some patchy fog & a top of 22 degrees. There is a chance of thunderstorms. Right now, it's 19 in Bellambi & Albion Park.

TRAFFIC There is still some flooding around - watch out in Albion Park Rail (Illawarra Hwy & Tongarra Rd) - the highway is closed in both directions. Also, Gerringong (Princes Hwy @ Belinda St) - traffic is affected in both directions. Otherwise, all is clear for the run around town & to Sydney.

TRAINS There is a good service on the South Coast line.

6.50am A little hump day funny for you. Winnie the Pooh fans will appreciate this.

6.48am SPORT: The rugby league world has united in support for Alex McKinnon after confirmation the young Newcastle Knights forward’s career had been ended by a spinal injury. Absolutely awful, my heart goes out to him.

6.46am An amazing story this morning from an Aussie Angelina Jolie - 25 y/o Krystal Barter had a double mastectomy to inspire others. What a brave woman.

6.44am And in some other movie news, the Lego movie is set to hit cinemas on April 3. Apparently, it's very funny, very well-made & well worth seeing.

6.42am MOVIE BUZZ: Aussie actor Sam Worthington has joined the cast of the mountainous blockbuster EverestThe film is a dramatisation of the disastrous 1996 expedition to scale Everest, in which three climbing teams were trapped by a fast-moving storm. Five people were killed during the expedition.

6.40am WORLD NEWS: A double-decker bus carrying municipal workers on a field trip in western Thailand plunged off a steep road and into a ravine, killing at least 30 people and injuring 22 others, officials said on Tuesday.

6.38am MUSIC NEWS: '90s music fans, I hope you're sitting down - E News is reporting that the Spice Girls & the Backstreet Boys may be touring TOGETHER. OMG. Be still my beating teenage heart...

6.36am NATIONAL NEWS: The PM is keen to bring back the title of Knights & Dames. I love this tongue-in-cheek response from ABC Sydney - perhaps Tony Abbott is a fan of period films?

6.34am LOCAL NEWS: A Dapto GP who sexually stimulated a patient under the guise of medical treatment has been found guilty of aggravated sexual assault.

6.32am This picture is a CRACKER - this husky clearly does not approve of its owner taking a selfie while driving! If looks could kill...

6.30am TV NEWS: Seven's Sunrise team has hit out at a report the show's high profile hosts Melissa Doyle, David “Kochie” Koch and Natalie Barr only narrowly survived axing, describing the rumours as a “big steaming pile of poo." Um, okay. Stinky!

6.28am WORLD NEWS: The Oscar Pistorius trial has continued - the Crown wrapped up its case yesterday & Pistorius is likely to give evidence on Friday.

6.26am How I Met Your Mother's Alyson Hannigan, SJP and Gloria Stienem all celebrate their birthday today! Happy birthday to other March 26 babies, including my lovely mum-in-law-to-be.

6.24am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Chris Hemsworth & his wife Elsa Pataky have revealed the names of their newborn twin boys - Tristan & Sasha. Cute! Check out a snap of the adorable bubs - awwwww. Ensue cluckiness.

6.22am We're launching a new page on April 15 called Kid’s Corner. Send in pics of your little cherubs & we’ll print them - email kidscorner@fairfaxmedia.com.au for more info.

6.20am MUSIC NEWS: Have Beyonce and Jay Z been lying about their ages? She's 35, he's 50 - or are they?

6.18am WORLD NEWS: We've got the latest on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight- the cluster of suspected debris has been sighted above a giant undersea chain of volcanoes whose complex terrain has barely been charted.

6.16am LOCAL NEWS: I still can't believe the amount of rain that fell on Monday night. We've got lots of news on the storm damage including a slightly pooey story + a clogged creek causing drama in the northern suburbs + rubbish washed up on North Wollongong beach.

6.14am Wollongong's newest restaurant Level One - Harbourfront is set to open its doors tonight. Can't wait!

6.12am Did you watch MKR last night? A very stressful hour of TV, I tell you. **SPOILER ALERT: Uel & Shanelle went home after making some weird cereal prawns with a side of hair. The experimental couple overcooked their pork & undercooked their eggs but their avocado/choc dessert saved them. Here's a full recap.

6.10am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Kim Kardashian & Kanye West have just opened themselves up to MASSIVE sledging - the pair were snapped while Kim was taking selfies of her & baby North, as Kanye snapped the pair of them. Confusing? I know. See the pic.

6.08am Here's the national/globalheadlines, courtesy of the SMH:

*A 17-day vigil for Australian families praying for loved ones aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 ended at 11.52 on Monday night.

*The state’s senior judges have hit back at suggestions the judiciary is ‘‘out of touch’’, saying the community fails to understand the complexity of the sentencing process.

*Sydney’s Catholic archdiocese has been forced to open its books for the first time, revealing assets worth more than $1b and raising questions about why it has failed to spend more on compensating victims of abuse.

*Jailed in the morning and bailed in the afternoon, Craig Thomson still maintains his innocence and has eight months of freedom before his appeal against a one-year prison sentence. 

6.06am Here's what's making news in your Mercury today:

*The South Coast received a drenching from the heavy rains on Monday night.

*Turning the eastern end of Addison Street into a one-way street and removing the 35-space car park on the harbour foreshore are proposed to develop the character of Shellharbour Village.

*Two people have been arrested after a bungled getaway from a violent home invasion in Bulli on Tuesday.

*Following flood damage to the school, Bulli High will not be running classes for students in years 7 to 10 on Wednesday, as clean-up and restoration works continue.

6.04am Let's have a look at the morning's weather, traffic & trains to start off the day.

WEATHER We're in for a partly cloudy day with a few scattered showers & a top of 22 degrees. There is a chance of thunderstorms. Right now, it's 19 in Bellambi & Albion Park.

TRAFFIC There is still some flooding hanging around - watch out in Albion Park Rail (Illawarra Hwy & Tongarra Rd) - the highway is closed in both directions. Also, Gerringong (Princes Hwy @ Belinda St) - traffic is affected in both directions.

TRAINS There is a good service on the South Coast line.

6am Good morning & happy hump day! Welcome to Wednesday's edition of the Rush.

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